'Autism isn't a disorder' presenter Melanie Sykes says after diagnosis aged 51

Melanie Sykes explains how she finally got her autism diagnosis

Autism shouldn't be classified as a disorder, presenter Melanie Sykes has said in her first TV interview about being diagnosed at the age of 51.

On ITV's Loose Women on Tuesday, Sykes said: "They call it a disorder which needs to get scrapped because it isn’t the things I can’t do, it’s the things I can do."

The NHS does not classify autism as an illness or a disease, but recognises that it is also called "autism spectrum disorder". Common signs of autism in adults include finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling, getting very anxious about social situations and taking things very literally.

Ms Sykes also revealed she was diagnosed after working on a documentary about autistic people in the education system.

Ms Sykes made the documentary with public speaker Harry Thompson who has autism, and a conversation with him led to the breakthrough.

"He thought I might have an ADHD/autistic profile based on how open I am, how expressive I am, my ability to pick up and drop lots of different bits of conversation and keep it lateral," she explained.

Ms Sykes went on to say her 17-year-old son Tino was diagnosed with autism when he was three-years-old and that men and women with autism need to be treated differently.

“I was told then that with girls, it doesn’t get as seen because they hide it well. If you’re being tested on how a boy or a male presents a certain condition... it looks very different to a woman," she said.

"Why are we being looked at in the form of man when we’re completely different animals?"

Where can I get support/advice about autism?